Maxwell Davies: Into the Labyrinth
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, conductor / Neil Mackie tenor
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Into the Labyrinth is a cantata for tenor and chamber orchestra, with words from 'The Well' by George Mackay Brown, and the centre-piece of a chamber orchestra trilogy (the other works being Sinfonia Concertante and Sinfonietta Accademica). This Unicorn reissue is the only recording currently available. The symphonic song-cycle in five continuous movements ponders the influence of modern times on ancient ways of life.
Composer’s note: “Into the Labyrinth is the second of a set of three works for chamber orchestra written in 1982/3, and is the only one using voice. George Mackay Brown wrote his play ‘The Well’ for the St Magnus Festival in 1981 and I extracted from it the present text for Into the Labyrinth. It concerns the change of lifestyle in the Orkney Islands under the assault of technology – the threat to the possibility of such a community being able to continue a lifestyle with a meaningful relationship with its past.”
“Into the Labyrinth was commissioned by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with subsidy from the Scottish Arts Council. The first performance took place on 22nd June 1983 in St Magnus’ Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney, as part of the 1983 St Magnus Festival. It was given by Neil Mackie and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by James Conlon.”